Here’s the honest truth: I’ve always had the best intentions to start a meditation practice. I’ve purchased three apps. Two books. Downloaded at least a dozen podcasts. I even went to a Buddhist meditation circle once – it was part of a college homework assignment, but I’m counting it in the tally.
I know it’s good for me. Not just good – excellent, even. The calm centering of the mind. The few precious moments to stop everything and breathe. The dedication to taking a hot second in this crazy world to just be.
I really want it to stick. But it hasn’t.
I always find some excuse in my day to push it aside. Do it later. Tomorrow. Oh heck, I’ll start fresh next week.
So when meditation teacher Kelly Morris looked me squarely in the eye last week and asked me point blank: “Meaghan, why don’t you meditate?” I knew the time of reckoning had come. I needed to get down into the nitty gritty root of the issue. Face the facts. And find some new commitment to a practice I so desperately want and need – but seem to always wiggle my way out of.
I met with Kelly for a one-on-one meditation session at her airy and gorgeous Brooklyn apartment. With bright white walls, high ceilings, and lofty windows, the place was right out of a dream.
After hearing the poor excuses I concocted around my sputtering meditation efforts, Kelly took my hand, sat me down on her couch, and told me simply and clearly: you need to meditate. Not that she highly suggests it. Not that it would be a good idea if I get around to it. But that it is critically important to my wellbeing and I need to do it.
Why? Well there are more answers than we had time to cover in our session, but I did get a good summary of the most compelling. Kelly shared some amazing facts about the powerful effect meditation has on your body and mind. Lower stress levels, healthier organs, better sleep, more mindful eating, brain rejuvenation, healthy aging, and reduced inflammation being the ones that caught my attention.
You mean meditating can help me find calm in this crazy city and help my body as an athlete? I’m listening.
After more discussion about how to remove the roadblocks I had created for myself around meditation, we sat down to try a few moments of it together.
Kelly arranged a comfortable spot for me on her gleaming floor, with a cushion beneath my seat and two blocks propped under my knees to help my tight hip flexors relax. She dimmed the lights and took a seat on a cushion just in front of me, but not facing me. “I don’t want you to feel like I’m staring at you this whole time,” she said reassuringly. And believe me, I was thankful to know that I was going to have a bit of privacy as I dip my toe back into the whole eyes-closed, deep breathing meditation game.
I don’t know how long we mediated for – probably around 15 minutes – but it felt as though time took a coffee break and let us have our peace until we were ready to jump back in. I truly couldn’t believe how still, comfortable, and happy I was on that little cushion on the floor.
Without music or chanting, Kelly gently led me through a guided meditation involving breathing techniques, imagery, and mindfulness insights. I don’t know how to properly put the experience into words. It was moving. Beautiful. Totally unpretentious. And so very, very peaceful.
When the time came to open my eyes, I felt as though my mind had gone through some sort of cosmic carwash and now emerged squeaky clean with shiny new tires. I was refreshed and excited while at the same time profoundly calm. I smiled. It was as though Kelly had shown me how to hit some sort of internal reset button.
So this is what I’ve been missing.
I know meditation can be strange, scary, and sometimes come across as totally foreign. Something “other people” do. And if you find yourself curious about it, I also know from very personal experience that there are just about a million excuses you can build to get in the way of giving it a go.
My session with Kelly was a much-needed wake up call from my personal cycle of excuses. And sometimes, that’s exactly what we need. Accountability. Someone to take your hand, sit you down, and lovingly tell you to get out of your own way. She didn’t judge me. She didn’t wave beads in my face or talk to me about religion. But she encouraged me and held me accountable, and for that I am enormously grateful.
For those who are interested in what I’m working on: Kelly recommended I start with 21 minutes a day, every day. I even set an alarm to help me remember. So far, I’m excited to say I’ve kept it up. It hasn’t been easy, but for me, the experience is so worth it. I hope to check in again with updates soon, but if you have any questions, shoot me a line and I’d be happy to share more.
Kelly offers a number of different meditation and mentoring services for groups and individuals. You can find all of the information on her website. Kelly is also the founder of Conquering Lion Yoga, a yoga teacher training program that combines her 20+ year experience in the Indian and Tibetan Yoga traditions with her profound love of Q’ero shamanism. She’s an incredible lady and I hope you get the chance to connect with her too!
Thank you Kelly for the opportunity to meditate with you – I am truly grateful for the experience. Photos via Kelly Morris.